Day 10: We experienced and survived an attack by Milan mosquitoes! I had heard one buzzing near my ear during my sleep but waved it away. At four in the morning, I woke up to a yelp from Jill, who, to get away from the mosquito, decided to hide under the comforter on her bed, only to hear the high-pitched buzz INSIDE the covers!!! We turned on all the lights, and were shocked to find not one, not two, not three, but FOUR mosquitos resting on the wall and ceiling (the memory of it is making my skin crawl even as I type this!). Since we had no insect sprays, we resorted to hairspray, which worked very well (I guess it made their wings stick together) against the vicious bloodsuckers. When I slapped the third one between my palms, I was grossed out by the amount of blood that was left smeared on my hand. The fourth one took forever to catch because it remained on the ceiling and refuesd to budge. We finally had to chase it down by using the antenna from the radio to poke it. Poor Jill received at least six bites on her face, neck, and chest. We went back to sleep. In the morning, we visited the Duomo, the fourth largest church in Europe (after Vatican, London, and Seville). Built in Gothic style from 1386 through 1810, it is darker inside than St. Peter's, but has a lot more stained glass. f you go there, be sure to look for the red light high above the altar. It'll be pretty obvious, and supposedly marks the spot where a nail from Jesus' cross is stored. St. Helena, Emperor Constantine's mother, brought it back from her pilgrimage back in the 4th century. Of course I don't know whether it's REAL or not, but I was tickled to see the red light way up there near the ceiling, as Rick Steves mentions in his guidebook. After the Duomo, we spent the rest of the day walking around in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (again, another attribute to VE2) and La Rinascente, the department store. We had our afternoon siesta at La Salotto, a restaurant / cafe inside the Galleria. I ordered hot chocolate, and it was exactly that: Melted chocolate, that, if left untouched for a few minutes, begins to congeal a little at the top. We had dinner at Piccola Tuscia Ristorante, a block away from our hotel.
Day 12: Woke up at 6:30, showered, and got ready for our trip back home. We took a five-minute cab ride to Cadorna Train Station, caught the Malpensa Express train ride into Milan's Malpensa Airport (40 minutes away), and boarded United Airlines Flight #971 into Washington, D. C. By now I had developed a sore throat, so I took a NyQuil and slept most of the way. Same story for our next flight from D. C. into San Francisco. I was knocked out for most of it. At 8:37 p.m. Pacific time, we landed in SFO and were picked up by Jill's mom and sister at the airport. It was a very good trip, but I was glad to be able to sleep in my own bed again that night. It took me a week to recover from my cold, but that's quite another story....
Note: You can make an appointment for Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper at the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie from the U. S. by calling 011.39.028.942.1146 (M-F 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sa 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Milan time, which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Time). An English-speaking operator will help you. The Last Supper itself is closed on Mondays.